Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a news writer for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett and interned at The L Magazine. At New York University she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, The Washington Square News. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

An Icelandic lawmaker said Sunday that she's prepared to help whistleblower Edward Snowden seek asylum in that country, Forbes reported.

Member of parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir and Smari McCarthy, executive director of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, professed their support for Snowden in a statement issued Sunday night and published by Forbes. It wouldn't be the first time Jonsdottir has moved to protect a whistleblower -- the Pirate Party legislator has a previous working relationship with Wikileaks.

“Whereas IMMI is based in Iceland, and has worked on protections of privacy, furtherance of government transparency, and the protection of whistleblowers, we feel it is our duty to offer to assist and advise Mr. Snowden to the greatest of our ability,” the statement read. “We are already working on detailing the legal protocols required to apply for asylum, and will over the course of the week be seeking a meeting with the newly appointed interior minister of Iceland, Mrs. Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, to discuss whether an asylum request can be processed in a swift manner, should such an application be made.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) argued Sunday in an appearance on CNN that the Boston Marathon bombings disprove Sen. Rand Paul's (R-KY) views on terror.

CNN host Candy Crowley asked McCain to respond to Paul's claim that National Security Agency surveillance programs constitute an "assault on the constitution."

"Right," McCain replied. "Just prior to the Boston bombing, he said the battlefield was no longer in America."

McCain referred to a March interview with Fox News in which Paul criticized the President's drone program.

"It's different overseas than it will be here," Paul had told Fox News. "Which gets precisely to the argument I have with some other Republicans who say, 'Well, the battlefield is everywhere, there is no limitation.' President Obama says this. Some members of my party say the battle has no geographic limitations and the laws of war apply. It's important to know that the law of war that they're talking about means no due process."

When Crowley asked McCain if he thought Paul was "naive" about the threat, McCain said that both Republicans and Democrats on the intelligence committee had been "very well briefed" on the NSA programs. "If members of Congress did not know what they were voting on, then I think that's their responsibility a lot more than it is the government's," he said.

Watch McCain's full interview with Candy Crowley here.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said Friday that Attorney General Eric Holder should consider resigning over the Department of Justice's seizure of journalist phone records as part of investigations into leaks of classified information.

"Whenever you feel that you have lost your effectiveness or may be losing your effectiveness to the detriment of the job that you do, you have to evaluate that and make a decision," Manchin said, referencing the attorney general in an interview with Bloomberg Television set to air this weekend. "And I think we're at the time now where decisions have to be made."

Manchin's comment about Holder comes in the wake of revelations that the National Security Agency had been collecting phone call and Internet data records, which the senator said "bothers" him.

“I’m wanting to do everything I can to fight the war on terror,” Manchin told Bloomberg. “There will not be another day in my life, my children or grandchildren’s life they won’t have to be vigilant against terrorists wanting to do us harm. But do you give up everything as an American?”

The Iowa Republican Party announced Friday that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will be making an appearance this July in the key presidential primary state.

"Senator Ted Cruz embodies bold leadership and Iowa Republicans appreciate leaders who stand up for them and fight big government recklessness," Iowa GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker said in a statement. "Ted Cruz is, without a doubt, a leader Iowans will want to meet. As the 'First in the Nation' state, we look forward to introducing Senator Cruz to Iowa Republicans." 

Cruz will headline the Republican party's summer picnic in Des Moines on July 19.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on Friday criticized President Barack Obama's response to the recently publicized National Security Agency phone and Internet data surveillance programs.

"There are several parts to this that the president glossed over," Merkley told MSNBC after Obama spoke.

The Oregon senator said Obama took the data collection "very lightly." In response to the president's claims that the appropriate Senate Intelligence Committees were briefed on the NSA programs, Merkley said he had to seek out "special permission" to learn about the intelligence initiatives because that information was not freely available. 

Merkley then found the NSA intelligence gathering "so out of sync with the law" that he thought it merited public disclosure.  

"There was a broad vacuum sweeping up data across America," he added.


President Barack Obama took subtle aim at critics of the Affordable Care Act in a speech in San Jose, Calif. Friday, asserting that in states like California that work to correctly roll out the health care program, the law is decreasing premiums and increasing competition between insurance companies.

"In states that are working hard to implement this law properly, it's working for people," Obama said.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who got served by a federal judge recently for his office's racially discriminatory crime sweeps, brushed off criticism Thursday by arguing that he is a victim of age discrimination.

Arpaio, who turns 81 next week, slammed his detractors in an interview with KSAV TV for calling his suitability for office into question on the basis of his age.

"I get very angry at people out there throwing my age out now," Arpaio said of his critics. "Last resort they have to throw my age out there and that's disgusting." 

The sheriff promises that he will indeed run for office again, but on a platform very different from illegal immigration.

"It's an insult to all senior citizens, to criticize and make fun of someone's age," Arpaio said. "I've been a poster boy for illegal immigration. I'm gonna be a poster boy this time around for all the senior citizens out there with discrimination against them."



President Obama congratulated Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) for becoming the longest-serving member of Congress on Friday. He has held his congressional seat for nearly 58 years.

"I want to congratulate Congressman John Dingell on becoming the longest-serving member of Congress in our country’s history," the president said in a statement. "First elected in 1955 to the seat formerly held by his father, John Dingell Sr., John has always worked tirelessly for people of his beloved Michigan and for working families across America. He has helped pass some of the most important laws of the last half-century, from Medicare to the Civil Rights Act to the Clean Air Act to the Affordable Care Act, and he continues to fight for workers’ rights, access to affordable healthcare, and the preservation of our environment for future generations to enjoy.  Michelle and I send our warmest wishes to John and his family, and I look forward to congratulating him in person at the White House next week."

Congress will celebrate Dingell's accomplishments in a ceremony June 13 at the National Statuary Hall in the Capitol.

After threatening earlier this week to vote against his own immigration reform bill, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told reporters Thursday "I won't abandon this issue until it's done, until we get a bill passed," according to the Orlando Sentinel.

"I'm working as hard today on immigration reform as I ever have," Rubio said. "That's what I'm committed to trying to accomplish, and that's what I'm spending all of my time on, figuring out how we can get a bill that passes the Senate and serves as a starting point to get it passed in the House as well."

Rubio promised to promote a compromise overhauling the bill that includes adding border-security provisions in order to get it to pass, the Sentinel reported.

An accidental email alerted IRS officials in Washington about extra scrutiny applied to conservative groups a year early than previously acknowledged, Reuters reported Friday.

According to transcripts of interviews between congressional investigators and IRS employees obtained by Reuters, a July 2010 email from an IRS worker in Cincinnati was accidentally blasted out to a large number of officials in the Washington office. 

Elizabeth Hofacre, coordinating "emerging issues" for the IRS' tax-exempt unit in Cincinnati, intended to send the message to a small group of employees, including some workers in Washington's tax-exempt unit. The contents of the email summarized Hofacre's findings on groups flagged on a "be-on-the-lookout" list, which included those groups with "Tea Party" and "Patriot" in their names. Officials in the IRS Exempt Organizations Rulings and Agreements unit accidentally received the email.

"Everybody in DC got it by mistake," Hofacre said in the transcripts, as quoted in the Reuters report.